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Grasroots Gardens established our Grief in the Gardens program in the Spring of 2019. This innovative program explores how gardening can help people cope with grief. To date, we have offered two different components of programming focused on community grief: our They That Sow in Tears workshop and a Community Candlelight Vigil.


They That Sow in Tears Workshop

They That Sow in Tears is a psychoeducational workshop for people who are grieving and want to learn to use their garden as a positive tool to help them cope with their grief. We were able to offer the workshop once in person at the Victory Community Garden and now several times on Zoom. In November, 2021, we customized a session for homicide loss survivors.  In each workshops, participants had the opportunity to journal about their experience of loss, create a concrete stepping stone to take home and to choose a plant in memory of a loved one. The workshop is co-facilitated by Gerldine Wilson,a long-time Grasroots Gardener, poet and writer as well as Jeanette Koncikowski, our Executive Director who has a background in trauma counseling and Abigail Unger, a grief counselor and Director of the Wilson Support Center at Hospice & Palliative Care Buffalo. Workshop participants have shared that the program was "extremely helpful" in processing their loss and 100% of participants have said they would recommend the program to a friend who was grieving.

We plan to offer several more workshops, either on Zoom while the pandemic continues or in-person when safe to do so this season, in 2022. To learn more or register for the next workshop, call Jeanette at (716) 544-4659. We are happy to offer the workshop to indvidiuals in a small group or to community groups already providing grief-related services. 


Photo: One gardener's memorial garden to honor those she's lost.

Community Candlelight Vigil 2020

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuation of sysetmic violence against Black and Brown individuals and families in 2020, our Therapeutic Gardening Task Force created the community candlelight vigil to provide an opportunity for community members to mourn and reflect on all that was collectively lost in the last year. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and to ensure the safety of community members, the vigil was hosted in a virtual format. In collaboration with Wilson Support Center, Buffalo Freedom Gardens, LISC WNY, Buffalo String Works, the Community Candlelight Vigil took place virtually for five evenings at dusk. Throughout the virtual vigil, the public was invited to join us in lighting a candle in honor of loved ones lost and to express their grief through art, dance, poetry and spoken word. Click on the links below to explore some of the works our community shared that reflect their pain and healing process.

Gerldine Wilson

Summa performed by the faculty and students

at Buffalo String Works


Grief: A Poem by Gerldine Wilson


Winter: A Dance & Spoken Word Performance by Dr. Naila Ansari & Marquis "Ten Thousand" Burton

Sloth Jail: Mixed Media

Contact our Executive Director, Jeanette, to learn more if interested in participating in programming or supporting this effort as a funding partner. She can be reached at 716-783-9653 or

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